The education and training worlds are fond of buzzwords, too many of which tend to be old ideas wrapped in shiny new packaging. But there is one buzzword that is set to transform the way we think about education from higher education classrooms to corporate training and development departments: unbundling.
We are all familiar with the concept of bundling—we use Expedia to get better prices by bundling our flights, hotels, and car rentals together, and we bundle our cable and Internet packages to save money as well. While bundling may be great for saving money on vacations and utilities, the all-in-one format that is currently the standard in education seems to have run its course. Now, thought leaders are exploring ways to improve education by breaking it into its component parts.
One of the biggest current proponents of unbundling in the education sphere is Anant Agarwal, MIT professor and president of massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX. In a December Huffington Post article, Agarwal (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 17, 2014 No Comments
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a rising trend in corporate and workplace training. The courses are still fairly new, and many questions remain to be answered. Currently, one of the hottest topics is how to measure the success of a MOOC. Although once everything is up and running, the marginal cost associated with MOOCs can approach zero, they still require significant upfront investments of both time and money. Organizations interested in using MOOCs as part of their training programs need to have a clear idea of the benefits they will realize—preferably reflected in their bottom line.
In the previous post, I outlined the four-level model of evaluation developed by Donald Kirkpatrick. Here, we’ll explore how MOOCs and the data that comes out of them can be used to measure success at each of these four levels. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 10, 2014 No Comments
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been around for almost two years, and in that time, a large amount of data about the courses has been generated. Now, researchers are starting to probe what kinds of students take MOOCs, why they take them, and what factors contribute to individual student success. These are important, no doubt, particularly in higher education, but companies interested in using MOOCs for training and development are also interested in the success of the courses as a whole—not just for individual students, but for organizations overall. This is an especially interesting issue for a couple of reasons: first, there is no consensus on how to measure the success of a MOOC in any environment, and second, companies are notoriously bad at measuring the returns on investment of their training programs in general.
Over the course of of two articles, I will explore what constitutes meaningful measurement of training and how this measurement can be applied to MOOCs. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 3, 2014 No Comments
The entire corporate and workplace training landscape is shifting. I’m not talking just new technologies or new formats, though these things have certainly been some of the major players. I’m talking an entirely new concept of what training means. There are two main forces driving the shift in training:
- ROI. Businesses have historically been very bad at measuring the return-on-investment of their training programs. Trainings are too often evaluated based on hours of seat-time, rather than by any real assessment of knowledge and skills. But many companies have started to wise up—the current business environment is too competitive for organizations to invest time and money in training without observing any impact on the bottom line. And when you start to actually look at the numbers, it becomes apparent that many traditional forms of instructor-led training are frankly not worth it: people forget 90 percent of what they learn sitting in a classroom, often by the time they walk out the door.